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EM ASIA FX-Rupiah leads Asia FX losses; intervention seen on Singapore dollar

Indonesia's rupiah has been hit by a wave of selling following comments by the central bank governor that inflation will slow.

* Rupiah at 17-year low on corp dlr bids, weak stocks, bonds

* Singapore c.bank intervention spurs short-covering -

traders

* Won hits 20-month trough before c.bank rate decision

(Adds text, updates prices)

By Jongwoo Cheon

SINGAPORE, March 11 (Reuters) - Indonesia's rupiah hit a

fresh 17-year low on Wednesday, leading losses among emerging

Asian currencies due to waning risk sentiment, while the

Singapore dollar rose as the central bank was suspected of

intervening.

The rupiah fell to a new low, last seen during the

1997-98 Asian financial crisis, on dollar demand from local

companies and as foreign investors sold the currency amid lower

stocks and bond prices.

The South Korean won slid to its weakest in 20

months a day before the central bank's interest rate meeting.

Malaysia's ringgit touched a six-year low.

Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell to a

two-month low and the dollar hit a 12-year peak against the euro

on views that the U.S. Federal Reserve may raise interest rates

by mid-year, earlier than expected.

That hurt riskier assets both in the United States and

elsewhere with the S&P 500 suffering its worst decline in

two months overnight and emerging market stocks down

to their lowest since early January.

China's industrial output, retail sales and fixed-asset

investment in the first two months of the year missed market

expectations, underscoring concerns over a slowdown in the

world's second-largest economy.

"Double whammy of USD strength and risk off tone lifted

USD/Asia," said Andy Ji, Asian currency strategist for

Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

Still, Ji saw some chances of a rebound in emerging Asian

currencies, saying the U.S. dollar remains in technically

overbought territory.

He said the Singapore dollar's downside was limited

on suspected intervention by the central bank and the won may

head to the 1,100 per dollar level again once the Bank of Korea

stands pat on Thursday.

SINGAPORE DOLLAR

The Singapore dollar gained as the Monetary Authority of

Singapore looked to support the third worst-performing Asian

currency this year.

On Tuesday, the city-state's currency hit 1.3910 per dollar,

its weakest since July 2010. The Singapore dollar has lost 4.4

percent so far this year.

Traders scrambled for the Singapore dollar to cover short

positions as it strengthened past 1.3880.

"Given the MAS' clear determination, the dollar/Sing is

unlikely to rise as much as others," said a foreign bank trader

in Singapore, referring to the U.S. dollar/Singapore dollar.

Still, many investors sold the city-state's currency on

rallies due to growing expectations that the central bank may

ease policy in April meeting.

RUPIAH

The rupiah fell 1.2 percent to 13,240 per dollar, its

weakest since August 1998.

Indonesian government bond prices slid with the 10-year

yield at 7.568 percent, its highest since Jan. 20.

The official Jakarta Interbank Spot Dollar Rate,

which the central bank introduced in 2013 to manage exchange

rate fluctuations, was fixed at 13,164 rupiah per dollar, the

weakest since the launch.

The central bank was spotted intervening to support the

worst-performing Asian currency so far this year, although the

authorities were not targeting to keep a certain level, traders

said.

On Tuesday, deputy central bank governor Perry Warjiyo said

the authority will always ensure the currency was stable

according to market fundamentals.

Indonesia will impose regulations such as temporary

anti-dumping import duties to help narrow the current account

deficit and prop up the rupiah, the finance minister said.

WON

The won lost as much as 0.6 percent to 1,129.6 per dollar,

its weakest since July 2013 as offshore funds continued to sell

the currency.

South Korea's exporters hesitated to buy the currency for

settlements amid expectations of further losses, traders said.

Investors were awaiting the central bank's monetary policy

meeting.

The Bank of Korea is likely to keep interest rates unchanged

this week but cut them next month when it revises its forecasts

to reflect a more tepid economic recovery than initially

expected, a Reuters poll showed.

CURRENCIES VS U.S. DOLLAR

Change on the day at 0505 GMT

Currency Latest bid Previous day Pct Move

Japan yen 121.41 121.14 -0.22

Sing dlr 1.3876 1.3905 +0.21

Taiwan dlr 31.645 31.566 -0.25

Korean won 1127.00 1122.60 -0.39

Baht 32.70 32.72 +0.06

Peso 44.35 44.27 -0.18

Rupiah 13225.00 13088.00 -1.04

Rupee 62.82 62.76 -0.10

Ringgit 3.7100 3.7035 -0.18

Yuan 6.2627 6.2620 -0.01

Change so far in 2015

Currency Latest bid End prev year Pct Move

Japan yen 121.41 119.66 -1.45

Sing dlr 1.3876 1.3260 -4.44

Taiwan dlr 31.645 31.718 +0.23

Korean won 1127.00 1099.30 -2.46

Baht 32.70 32.90 +0.61

Peso 44.35 44.72 +0.83

Rupiah 13225.00 12380.00 -6.39

Rupee 62.82 63.03 +0.33

Ringgit 3.7100 3.4965 -5.75

Yuan 6.2627 6.2040 -0.94

(Additional reporting by IFR Markets' Catherine Tan; Editing by

Jacqueline Wong)